Hiring Summer Students
RU Ready 2 Read My Resume?
As I write this editorial (somewhat before actual publication), resumes are streaming in for several clerk positions our organization has open for summer students. As you read this, you have probably just finished this annual process of screening, interviewing, hiring and training these eager, young candidates. A couple of things took me by surprise. First, those descriptors are not altogether apt anymore. As I have discovered, the term summer student does not just necessarily mean young 20-somethings looking for a chance to gain experience in their chosen field and an opportunity to finance their education.
The term student now encompasses, in addition to the typical college or university student, those who are new to Canada and pursuing an education and career in their new home country, those who are returning to school for a shot at a second career or mothers returning to the workforce after a major hiatus. This means that for the clerk position that pays $9/hr and requires computer skills, a typing speed of 40 wpm and the ability to communicate in both official languages, you may be considering people with years of experience in their field now starting over in a new country, or in a new career. It is a much different profile and employee type than the 20 year old in a first job.
Kate Moore, RPR
The second thing that took me by surprise is what passes for cover letters these days, and the lack of attention to detail in the creation of a resume, that most important tool for selling one’s skills to an employer. To wit, while I am not always able to name every Minister of Parliament in the area where I live, I am pretty sure “Ed Broadband” is not one of them. Errors such as that, while they are easily attributed to spell-check functions on our word processors that seem to think they are smarter than we are, show an appalling lack of attention to detail, a trait that most people claim to have despite evidence to the contrary.
Another observation: while using spelling such as “u r” works well when text messaging your friends, it is not acceptable to use it in email correspondence (or any correspondence for that matter) with a potential employer. Nor is it necessary to use numerous exclamation marks to make your point!!! Though, frankly, I shouldn’t deter those who took the time to attach a message stating their intent to apply for a particular position, when many people simply emailed a generic resume with no cover letter to upwards of fifty employers at once. If a candidate cannot take the time to indicate to me how their qualifications will suit my needs, or indeed what job they are interested in, why should I look at their application?
Lest you think me cynical beyond redemption, there were many well written cover letters and beautifully assembled resumes. I was also gratified to see the number of students who have gained impressive experience through the volunteer work they are asked to do as part of their high school curriculum. I know that of the many applications we received, we will know doubt end up hiring some very bright, capable individuals who will bring a lot of enthusiasm to our organization. It continues to sadden (and irritate) me, however, to see university level students having difficulty displaying the rudiments of proper English grammar in what should be professional correspondence.
Having been through a four-year honours business program and subsequently completed my CHRP, I know what is generally included in a post-secondary course of study. But all of the Organizational Behaviour and Operations Management courses in the world will not help you get a job if your cover letter and resume do not reflect your maturity and professionalism.